I love to cook.

When I’m in the kitchen, I enjoy bringing all the different ingredients together to create something tasty, something special and something that everyone can enjoy.

Like most people, I am guilty of making far too much food at home so I often share the extras with my colleagues at lunchtime. And it's a good job too…as my colleagues love my cooking!

But when the team devoured my latest creation, I started to wonder...

How could the concept of cooking be applied to the workplace? And, in particular, what would the recipe be for a great quality management system? What ingredients do we need?

The answer is that our recipe here is actually very simple.

Food preparation is all about planning – and planning is the first step in implementing an effective quality management system. True, sometimes it takes a long time to plan, but in getting those initial ingredients just right, the finished product will be so effective.

Then there's the cooking itself. All our ingredients that have been so carefully planned – are they cooked in the same pot? Or, in terms of quality management, a central QMS, with the intention of feeding the whole company; a company which is full of operational processes for quality. As the ingredients bond and interlink, you can happily revel in the rich, warm, effective scent as it does.

This recipe will create your ultimate favourite meal and, at times it may be daunting. But, similarly in cooking up an effective quality management system, the need for effectiveness and efficiency is vital.

And – ça va sans dire (it goes without saying) – a glass (or two!) of communication doesn't do it any harm either!

Oh, and one final note: it is the bones of the quality management system that makes your efforts towards continuous improvement and operational excellence so sweet and so succulent.

That's something you should never forget.

So what’s the list of ingredients to a delicious quality management system?

  • Full pack of Document Control that includes drafting, change requests, approval and distribution workflows. The document number and revision date should be included.
  • A set of Audit Planning and add some fresh Audit Confirmation and Performing.
  • And the most important ingredient here is the Corrective Action/Preventive Action (CA/PA) - you can have as much as you want, depending on your taste.
  • 1 big slice of Reporting & Analysis you can chop it whichever way you prefer, either as a pie chart, or bar graph.
  • A pinch of Staff Training & Competence Management, resource management, supplier & customer relationship management.
  • For the sauce (optional): Incident Management & Reporting.

So what’s the method?

  1. Preheat and brainstorm the planning for your processes. Quality Management Systems
  2. Prepare 1 big pot for all the ingredients.
  3. Get the pack of the Document Controls and start drafting your documents, policies and procedures. Then, through your pre-defined workflows, you can automatically send them for approval, wait for approval or any change requests and, if everything is ok, you can start distribution. Make sure you have included the document number and also the revision date as planned or pre-configured.
  4. Plan and schedule your audits ahead of time, send automatic notifications and start execution of the audit. There is no requirement for paper within this recipe.
  5. The CA/PA here will work as the main ingredient to capture any deviations from your processes or any non-conformance. It also has the ability to enhance the taste of the meal by informing the appropriate people, which will encourage learning and continual improvement.
  6. Next, get the slice of the reporting & analysis. This will help you study and explore all CA/PA, incident and audit findings from every area within the pot. You can chop the report as graphs - pie charts or bar graphs – to view the trends which will help identify related issues and improvement opportunities.
  7. The pinch of the training and competence will provide the complete central register for all employees and their training and competences records. As for the pinch of resource management, this will act as the complete central inventory register within your meal. After adding the pinch of supplier management, you will be able to maintain your relationships with approved suppliers.
  8. The most important part is your customer management. The main goal of any organization is to reach the highest customer satisfaction rates and this is managed and maintained by registering all customer complaints, compliments and any other correspondence.

And for the sauce:

  1. Take your incident management form and automate it – this will make it easier for management teams to approve or relate it to another incident that has maybe occurred in the past.
  2. This will then allow you investigate the incident, irrespective of what it was, and will help to reduce the investigation time.

By putting everything together in one pot, all the flavours of the ingredients combine to give you the most comprehensive Quality Management System, which is quick and easy to manage…and what manager doesn’t want a full and healthy organisation?